Samstag, 11. Februar 2012

Mochi filled with white bean paste and pistachios

Today I made mochis. I learned this during cooking lessions at our german japanese culture centre. I still remember our huffs and moans while punch-stirring the mochi dough. This is hard work, good for building up some upper arm muscles!

But you don't need much ingredients:
  • dried white beans
  • sugar
  • some nuts and spices
  • rice flour
  • starch

First I cooked 200 g small white beans with some cups of water.
simply beans

After 15 minutes I changed the water and simmered the beans until soft but not broken - I changed the water twice. Simmering time depends on the freshness of the beans. I took last years harvest and they were done in 1.5 hours but soaking over night will reduce cooking time a lot.
I pushed the beans through a fine mashed metal sieve to get rid of the peels and squeezed the white paste in a linnen cloth until almost dry and more firm.
Afterwards I simmered the paste while stirring with 3/4 cup sugar over medium temperature until it looked glossy (10 minutes) and a dry film begins to form at the bottom of the pot. Result: Pretty perfect shiro an (white bean paste)

simmering the paste with sugar

I added 2 drops bitter almond oil and 4 drops rose water and stirred it again. 1/3 of the paste I mixed with 70 g finely chopped pistachios and a pinch powdered green tea.
First I formed little marble sized balls out of the pistachio paste afterwards I covered the balls with a layer of the plain bean paste. I placed the balls on a plate with powdered sugar. The bean paste is very sticky but there is no helping. This is cooking while dirtying your hands quite often.

For mochi
I stirred 2 cups glutenious rice flour with 1 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar until smooth (beware of lumps!).
I microwaved the batter in a glass bowl (covered with cling film) for 1 minute at 900W. Then again I stirred it well and microwaved for 2.5 minutes more at 900W. The batter will rise and double the size. During cooking lesson we steamed the dough for 30 minutes over water but forget the steaming. Microwave is much more convenient (quick and clean).
I transferred the very hot dough into a huge ceramic motar. The guey dough has to be punched by a wooden pestle until it gets smooth as an earlobe, the colour should become pearly opac. This is quite something. This is were huffing and moaning may be appropriate. The dough reminds on sticky rubber and it tends to build long threads. During cooking lession one guy broke the wooden spoon he used for this job.
I filled the dough on a baking board (using my hands powdered with some starch). The board should be covered with starch too to prevent sticking and I formed the still hot dough into a cylindric shaped stripe. I pinched the dough into walnut sized balls, flattened these into round discs (size of my palm) and covered the bean paste dumplings with the discs from all sides - one by one. This has to be done very quickly using hot/warm dough only. Afterwards I placed the mochi on a plate covered with some starch.

Mochi finished

A little bit squeezed during cutting - but you may see the pistachios
 I had some mochi dough left and filled it with red bean paste I had already in storage.


Hiroyuki hat gesagt…

Well done!

I would call yours mochi rather than dango because you made them with mochiko (glutinous rice flour), but these two words are used differently by different people and in different areas, so I wouldn't be surprised if you called yours dango.

As for me, when I hear the word dango, I associate it with several (three or four) small filling-less balls (made with regular rice) on a skewer.

Fräulein Trude hat gesagt…

Thanks for the explanation. I made the corrections and changed dango into mochi.

Hiroyuki hat gesagt…

Well, I just expressed my opinion based on my limited knowledge of Japanese as someone born and bred in Tokyo. "Sasa dango", a specialty of Niigata, happens to be one example that is called dango although it has azuki filling.

Fräulein Trude hat gesagt…

Thank you so much for the link. Using mugwort is quite something. It must taste very special. I am really thrilled, but will have to wait until spring/summer for some mugwort. Maybe I will use banana leaves or sweet corn hulls as substitutes for large bamboo leaves (or I would have to steal them from our small botanic garden bamboo wilderness - which is rather risky). Besides of the wrapping procedure and the dough kneading this method is quite nice: you don't have to deal with the gluey rubber dough.

Sissi hat gesagt…

Wow! It does sound very impressive and difficult to make. I wish we had Japanese cooking classes here.

Hiroyuki hat gesagt…

Yes, less gluey probably because the dough is made with 70% mochi flour and 30% rice flour, but "thrilled"?? Do you really want to make them? I hope you can find some nice substitutes for "sasa" and "suge"!
As I mentioned here:
all the necessary ingredients for sasa dango are readily avaialable here in spring (and in any time of year), but I have never wanted to make them.

Yes, mugwort (yomogi or mochigusa) is very popular in Japan as an ingredient for sweets, and sasa provide nice additional aroma to the dango.